Australia formally approves Delta-Virgin joint venture

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Australia's competition watchdog has formally confirmed that it will authorise the joint venture between Virgin Blue's V Australia and Delta Air Lines for trans-Pacific routes.

Under the joint venture, the carriers can take a coordinated approach to issues such as pricing, revenue management, schedules, capacity, and routes, says the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The confirmation was expected after the ACCC's 2 November draft determination stating its approval of the joint venture.

"The ACCC considers that the joint venture is likely to assist Virgin and Delta to compete more effectively against the incumbents on the routes, Qantas and United Airlines," says ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel.

On 2 November, Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey said the carriers aim to begin codesharing on transpacific flights by the middle of 2010. The two carriers are in the process of seeking antitrust immunity from the US Department of Transportation.